They are worried that terrorists may be crossing over with former militants through Sunauli in Uttar Pradesh

After the launch of the “return and rehabilitation scheme” by the Omar Abdullah government in 2010, there has been a spurt in the number of people returning from Pakistan via the Nepal border. The defence authorities, however, are worried that terrorists may cross over along with former militants, using the Sunauli border in Uttar Pradesh to cross over from Nepal. The authorities are, therefore, pressing for stringent checks at the India-Nepal border.

Border crossing has not been taking place through the four routes designated by the Union Home Ministry. People coming into India from Pakistan could do so via the IGI Airport in Delhi or the Wagah-Attari border in Amritsar with their Pakistani passports and visas, or through the Poonch-Rawlakote and the Uri-Muzaffarabad border points on the Line of Control with permits approved by the authorities in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

But instead of taking these legal routes, a large number of individuals and their families are crossing over from Nepal. “It is obvious that they are flying into land-locked Nepal and then coming here. Why they are not entering India via the normal routes is the main question. We fear that some terrorists could also infiltrate through this [Nepal] route,” informed sources said.

In 2013, 50 individuals have returned so far, while 42 have come with their families — comprising another 163 members. The total number of returnees is thus 213. From 2007 to 2010, the figure stood at 142 in all, and rose sharply to 118 in 2011 and 379 in 2012.

Since 2007, 852 persons had returned via Sunauli and these include 372 former militants, who returned alone, and 128, who returned with their families.

As per the rehabilitation policy, upon their return, they have been surrendering to the local authorities and claiming rehabilitation.

It is believed that there are about 30 terror camps in Pakistan with about 3,000 operatives in them, waiting for an opportunity to cross over to India.

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